NME Awards 2014: the winners (and losers)
Presented by NME columnist Huw Stephens, the NME Awards 2014 at Brixton Academy showed once again the comatose status of the current music business. Celebrations are useful if, and only if, there is a provision of knowledge for the audience, and are functional and practical if they honour and push brand new artists. A vanity fair that gives the nth award to Sir Paul McCartney is a complete show off. The fact that McCartney is a genius is a given, does he really need another award?
Nevertheless, the business is business and the music machine needs to be filled up with money, celebrities and advertising. So Arctic Monkeys won five awards, including Best Band, Best Live Band and Best Album, the great Damon Albarn won in the category Innovation, Lily Allen in the Best Solo Artist category (beating artists like David Bowie and Kanye West), Blondie for the cloudy category Godlike Genius, and as said before, McCartney in the likewise confused category Songwriter’s Songwriter (how can the winner of this category be different every year? Clearly a paradox).
Aside from these gripes, the show itself was massively funny and rich with surprises and great moments: the superb Jarvis Cocker rewarding the Arctic Monkeys, the live performance by The Horrors (with a brand new single from the up-and-coming new record Luminous). Damon Albarn’s speech was intense and genuine: “NME brings up so many memories…. I really care what NME thinks”, but most of all, the live exhibition of Metronomy, with the original Sugarbabes at the chorus. The two most cruel awards – Villain of the Year and Worst Band of the Year – went respectively to One Direction’s Harry Styles (who surprisingly managed to beat Vladimir Putin) and to The 1975 (who curiously played at the Brixton Academy a few months ago).
The NME Awards is a good show, funny, cool and rich in music, but it would be more interesting with some fearless choices in terms of line-up and in categories. Among all the winners, only two bands are actually brand new, Drenge and Fat White Family – all of the other winners are already famous. More sophistication in the search of the members of each category in future would be perhaps more appreciated.
Here is the complete list of winners:
Godlike genius: Blondie
Songwriters’ songwriter: Paul McCartney
Award for innovation: Damon Albarn
Teenage Cancer Trust outstanding contribution to music award: Belle & Sebastian
Best British band, supported by Windows phone: Arctic Monkeys
Best international band, supported by Austin, Texas: Haim
Best solo artist: Lily Allen
Best new band, supported by Mossimo: Drenge
Best live band, supported by Gig Buddy: Arctic Monkeys
Best album, supported by PS4 Infamous Second Son: Arctic Monkeys, AM
Best track, supported by Blackstar Amps: Disclosure, White Noise
Best music video, supported by Domino’s: Eagulls, Nerve Endings
Best festival: Glastonbury
Best TV show: Breaking Bad
Best music film: Made of Stone
Philip Hall Radar Award, supported by Monster headphones: Fat White Family
Best reissue: The Clash, Sound System
Best band blog or Twitter account: Alana Haim, Haim
Best book: Morrissey, Autobiography
Best small festival: Sŵn
Best fan community: Arctic Monkeys
Music moment of the year: Noel and Damon come together for Teenage Cancer Trust
Worst band: The 1975
Hero of the year: Alex Turner
Villain of the year: Harry Styles
For further information about the NME Awards visit here.